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What is the Best Way to Store Wine?

When storing wine on a wine rack, sparkling wine should sit at the bottom, with white wine above that, and red wine above the white.
A wine refrigerator keeps wine at an ideal temperature.
Bartender serving a glass of wine.
A bottle of sparkling wine.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 March 2014
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With wine's increasing popularity, many people have become amateur collectors. The more one collects, the more one needs to be concerned about how to properly store it. For most people, the cost of building a wine cellar is out of the question, although this is the ideal way to store wine. As a person builds a collection, there are a few tips that can help him store wine and maintain its excellent flavor.

It is important for people who are looking for ways to store their wine to consider what types of wine they need to store. Sparkling wine, for example, is most vulnerable to change when exposed to light and heat. It is fine to keep a bottle of sparkling wine out for a few days, when it's still corked. If someone has a bottle that he plans to open in a week or two, it is better to store it in the refrigerator.

White wine is also more vulnerable to changes from light or heat, so it should be stored either in a closed cool cabinet or in the refrigerator. With good wines, it is important not to serve them at too cold of a temperature as this can dull the flavor. The recommended temperature for serving white or sparkling wine is no less than 45°F. (7.22°C). People may also choose to serve dessert wines that are cold, though others prefer them at room temperature.

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People who store Merlots or Zinfandels in the refrigerator should give them a day to warm up to room temperature before serving them. It is a general rule that red wine should never be served chilled because it robs the wine of too much flavor.

If the wine will be stored in a small wine rack, the owner should store sparkling wines on the lowest shelf, whites above the sparkling, and reds above the white. This recommendation takes into account the fact that heat rises, so the wines requiring the lowest temperature will sit at the bottom level.

Though a wine rack or wine case can be a nice display, people shouldn’t sacrifice taste to aesthetics. The rack should not be in direct light, as this will cause the wine to age more quickly and lose its flavor. An alternative to the wine rack is a small glass door wine refrigerator, which can better store wine than a rack exposed to the elements. It also tends to prevent molding if the owner plans to store the wine for a long period of time. Most important in considering temperature is that wine should not be stored at a temperature above 55°F (12.77°C) or under 40°F (4.44°C).

People who choose to store wine in a closet should make sure that the space has a decent amount of air circulation, since this can also prevent mold from forming, especially on red wines. Any old woods may cause the cork to rot, so any potential storage closet should be well cleaned, and not smell musty or show dry rot. Most wine enthusiasts also recommend that wine be stored on its side, rather than upright. This keeps the wine in contact with the cork, which prevents air from getting into the bottle.

Wine should also never be stored with other foods that are capable of fermenting. Fruit, vegetables, and cheese that rot near a bottle can actually cause the wine to begin to mold as well, and these moldy flavors may enter the wine through the cork.

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Discuss this Article

anon252783
Post 9

"Most wine enthusiasts also recommend that one store wine on its side, rather than upright. This keeps the wine in contact with the cork, which prevents air from getting into the wine."

This would be funny if it were merely an ignorant statement. Unfortunately, it defies reason. How, oh how is wine contacting the cork, acting as a barrier to air intrusion preventing air from touching itself? This is, by far the most idiotic allegation ever proposed by "wine enthusiasts".

If the cork is absorbing the wine, it would eventually "wick" the wine from the bottle. If the cork is not absorbing the wine, then the cork is moisture-proof and neither is wine escaping or is the cork "drying out". The fact that many "wine enthusiasts" can't understand this simple line of reasoning is telling.

anon252779
Post 8

"If one chooses to store wine in a closet, there should be a decent amount of air circulation, since this can also prevent mold from forming, especially on red wines."

Total rubbish. The dankest, darkest cellars have stored wines forages. Mold completely encasing a glass bottle, corked and capped with wax, does nothing to the wine inside. This is one of a myriad myths polluting the minds of nouveau "wine enthusiasts".

anon41610
Post 7

how do i receive and store wine, coffee and biscuits?

anon39455
Post 6

How should one select a wine refrigerator? Where can i find pros/cons for the thermo-electric type coolers compared to the compressor style coolers for wines? Thanks, taddy.

anon37469
Post 5

how long should I keep an unconsumed bottle of red wine from its date of opening?

anon13973
Post 4

@valcento the easiest way to make your merlot less sweet is to let it ferment longer, more sugars will be converted to ethanol thus removing some of the sweetness. But from the fact that you claim it is 5 months old i assume it is already bottled. In that case if you let it bottle age around 55F for a year or so you will see a partial reduction in the sugar content, but not a drastic difference. Hope that helps out some.

valcento
Post 3

I made 5 gal. of merlot. it just doesn't taste like a true Merlot, it is a little on the sweet side. it is five months old. Is there anything i can add to change it ??

Angelo

somerset
Post 2

This would not be practical for an individual, but one winery I know of started storing some of their sparkling wine on the bottom of the sea. They have figured out the proper depth for maximum benefit. The science behind it is that the temperature at that particular depth is cool, constant and there is relative darkness. The wine is kept in cages, undisturbed for a year and after that it is sold.

Once the cages are lifted from the bottom, the bottled wine is usually covered with barnacles, which add interest to the whole experience. Since this is such an elaborate process, the wine is rather expensive.

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